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Political economy of development in the Arab republics: The state and socio-economic coalitions

Political economy of development in the Arab republics: The state and socio-economic coalitions The question of socio-economic underdevelopment in the Arab region has been a perennial theme in development studies. While some scholars highlight the long durée effect of the Ottoman institutional legacy, others place the blame on the legacy of exploitation and expropriation of the colonial practices in the region. The article reaches beyond the two accounts (albeit departing from the colonial economic basis) and brings out the agency of the post-colonial elites who altered the socio-economic foundation of the political class and transformed processes of capital accumulation and labour commodification. I argue that the processes of state-building accompanied by social engineering measures represented a ‘critical juncture’ that impinged on state autonomy and its bureaucratic capacity and left an indelible imprint on development strategies. The article unpacks three mechanisms that proved consequential for economic policy outcomes: (1) the degree of elite autonomy to formulate policies, (2) the power of social classes to contest economic policies, and (3) the capacity of state bureaucracy to implement policies and allocate resources. A critical political economy perspective, that reaches beyond the reification of the state and examines the interaction between ‘elite deals’ and ‘social bargains’, offers a nuanced account for varied development records across the region. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Economic History of Developing Regions Taylor & Francis

Political economy of development in the Arab republics: The state and socio-economic coalitions

Economic History of Developing Regions , Volume 38 (3): 24 – Sep 2, 2023
24 pages

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References (145)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2023 The Author(s). Co-published by Unisa Press and Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
ISSN
2078-0397
eISSN
2078-0389
DOI
10.1080/20780389.2023.2209285
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The question of socio-economic underdevelopment in the Arab region has been a perennial theme in development studies. While some scholars highlight the long durée effect of the Ottoman institutional legacy, others place the blame on the legacy of exploitation and expropriation of the colonial practices in the region. The article reaches beyond the two accounts (albeit departing from the colonial economic basis) and brings out the agency of the post-colonial elites who altered the socio-economic foundation of the political class and transformed processes of capital accumulation and labour commodification. I argue that the processes of state-building accompanied by social engineering measures represented a ‘critical juncture’ that impinged on state autonomy and its bureaucratic capacity and left an indelible imprint on development strategies. The article unpacks three mechanisms that proved consequential for economic policy outcomes: (1) the degree of elite autonomy to formulate policies, (2) the power of social classes to contest economic policies, and (3) the capacity of state bureaucracy to implement policies and allocate resources. A critical political economy perspective, that reaches beyond the reification of the state and examines the interaction between ‘elite deals’ and ‘social bargains’, offers a nuanced account for varied development records across the region.

Journal

Economic History of Developing RegionsTaylor & Francis

Published: Sep 2, 2023

Keywords: Ottoman legacy; colonial legacy; state capitalism; cronyism; path-dependent development; Middle East; Nasserism

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